New York regularly places voters on inactive status if it believes that the voter has moved, but it does not provide the names of these inactive voters to poll workers at polling locations. In an opinion last week, Judge Nathan ruled, following a bench trial, that the refusal to maintain the inactive list at polling locations violates the the Equal Protection Clause.
Judge Nathan found that the refusal to provide the inactive list served no legitimate state interest. The State argued that not having the inactive list would ensure that people vote in the location in which they were registered, but, as Judge Nathan concluded, failed to explain how the practice would “actually advance” that interest. The State claimed that the practice increased efficiency at the polls, but Judge Nathan found that the practice actually created delays which produced ripple effects that burdened all voters.